A flood of generosity has besieged Northern Devon Foodbank following the launch of the Gazette’s annual Christmas Give a Gift Appeal.

Chief reporter Tony Gussin presents two trolleys of food donated by Gazette readers to Northern Devon Foodbank volunteers at the Barnstaple branch. Picture: Matt SmartChief reporter Tony Gussin presents two trolleys of food donated by Gazette readers to Northern Devon Foodbank volunteers at the Barnstaple branch. Picture: Matt Smart

A total of 75.55 kilos of food - equivalent to 180 meals - was donated directly to the Gazette offices, but staff at the Barnstaple foodbank say they have also been very busy with donations.

A spokesperson said: "Ever since we made the appeal the donations have been piling through the door, we have been very, very busy.

"I think because of the election foodbanks were very much in the spotlight anyway.

"It's very humbling, to see what people donate - if they are unable to go shopping they will give us £10 or £20 to buy something."

Pupils from The Park Community School pushed seven trolleys of food from the school to the Barnstaple Foodbank. Picture: Matt Smart Pupils from The Park Community School pushed seven trolleys of food from the school to the Barnstaple Foodbank. Picture: Matt Smart

They said the donation boxes in the adjoining Tesco Rose Lane store - part of the store's own annual Christmas Foodbank appeal - were also filling rapidly.

Now in its sixth year, the appeal asks people to donate the extra festive luxuries that struggling families might not be able to afford.

These include items such as chocolates, biscuits, sweets, tinned meats and nuts as well as Christmas crackers.

In addition to clients' regular boxes of food, they are also given a special Christmas box with the extra goodies.

Gazette chief reporter Tony Gussin said: "The response we get from our readers for this appeal never ceases to amaze us.

"Numerous people turn up at our office with bags and boxes of Christmas food donations, some truly astonishing amounts.

"People often contact us in the summer to ask if the appeal is running that year, so they can begin to collect their donation.

"To everyone that has donated this year and every year, a massive thank you for thinking of others at Christmas time."

The appeal has now ended and we will update you with the final total when it is known in the new year.